Flyers Notes: PK unit remains rock solid

Flyers Notes: PK unit remains rock solid
February 18, 2013, 6:15 pm
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UNIONDALE, N.Y. – As strange as it might seem to speak of momentum-changers in a 7-0 victory, the Flyers had a very big one in the first period of Monday afternoon’s game against the New York Islanders.

Kimmo Timonen was called for interference, but before he even reached the box, Wayne Simmonds was on his way there too – sent to serve an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.

The Flyers killed off a full two-minute two-man advantage at 13:50 of the first period. They carried a 1-0 lead into the first intermission, but if not for the impressive work of the their penalty-killing unit, they probably wouldn’t have.

“That was a huge momentum swing on our part – a full two-minute 5-on-3, also,” Danny Briere said. “You have to give our penalty killers a lot of credit today. A lot of blocked shots – forwards and defensemen.

“I know sometimes it get overlooked a little bit in a 7-0 game, but if you go back and look at the tape how many blocked shots [Ruslan] Fedotenko, Max [Talbot], Couts [Sean Couturier], Reader [Matt Read] had today, it was very impressive.”

The Islanders aren’t exactly a scary team – the Flyers have won their last eight games at Nassau Coliseum – but their power play is deceptively good, ranking fifth in the NHL.

“They’re a dangerous group over there, the players they have on the ice,” coach Peter Laviolette said. “I thought our penalty kill – not only in the 5-on-3 but in the 5-on-4 situations, was terrific. Their power play had been hot. That certainly was a big lift for our guys getting through that in a tight game, getting through that and still having a lead.”

Harry Z instead of McGinn
As a surprising move, the Flyers dressed Harry Zolnierczyk for Monday’s game. Rookie Tye McGinn, though he’s been impressive, was a healthy scratch.

The decision came down to a matter of speed and energy, said Laviolette.

“Harry brings energy – he brings it in the locker room, he brings it on the ice,” Laviolette said. “His play with Zac [Rinaldo, which led to a goal] was a perfect example of that. He had another chance earlier, he had one last time in Winnipeg early on.

“It’s just that speed and that jump that he brings to the lineup, just trying to get a little bit quicker.”

No star for Bryz
Ilya Bryzgalov finally got a long-awaited shutout. But despite saving all 19 shots the Islanders sent his way on route to his 30th career shutout, Bryz wasn’t awarded the first star of the game.

Or the second star. Or the third star.

True, the Islanders didn’t exactly test Bryzgalov – but this hockey writer, at least, hasn’t even been to a game in which a goalie registered a shutout but wasn’t honored with a star.

Claude Giroux, predictable, was the game’s first star. Matt Read and Jakub Voracek were the other two.

Loose pucks
Scott Hartnell was placed on long-term injured reserve, freeing up cap space for the roster moves the team made over the weekend. … The Flyers’ two quick goals were their third and fourth this season scored in the first minute of a period. ... The Flyers entered the game with a negative-11 goal differential. They zipped all the way down to negative-4 after the win. … Rinaldo now has three career goals. After Monday, two were scored at Nassau Coliseum. … Giroux was 10-for-15 on faceoffs.

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